New tool for citizen journalists

Let’s say you want to make an argument about public education in your hometown. Students have created a goofproof tool for discovering the breakdown of education levels. Use hard numbers from American Visualizer, and your case moves further from opinion and closer to fact. The same is available for race, housing, age and gender.

Sure, you could mine the U.S. Census Bureau yourself. But hunting for information on the U.S. Census Bureau website is parallel to asking for a headache.

American Visualizer Screenshot

This is simple. So simple ANYONE can figure it out. Sounds like citizen journalism to me.

Rich Gordon, blogger and professor at the Medill School of Journalism talks about the new tool in the PBS MediaShift Idea Lab. He goes into greater detail about the fusion of technology and journalism, but the most exciting thing about it is the tool’s immediacy and simplicity. Don’t believe me? Just do it. Let me know if you disagree.

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06 2010

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